I woke up today knowing it would be a hard day. I began my day in prayer. I begged for the Holy Spirit to comfort Elliot's husband, children, parents, sister, grandparents, nieces, nephews, in-laws, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and everyone else I could think of. I texted my cousin Erin to let her know how much I loved her. I didn't know what else to do. So I went about my day.
Will started swim lessons this morning. The irony of that didn't hit me at the time, but it did while I was watching him. Our Grandmother had a pool in her backyard and it was the cornerstone of all of our childhoods. We all grew up within a few miles of each other, so I spent nearly every morning of my summers swimming with my cousins there. I remember the games we would play. Colored Eggs, Spider, and Diving for Pennies. Elliot and I would poof up our wet hair and pretend we were George and Martha Washington. Don't ask. We would come in and watch soap operas and eat junk food with our Grandmother. Again, don't ask. And then we would be back in the pool. All of those memories hit me lot a ton of bricks this morning completely unexpected.
As I was crying, Bennett came outside. Completely on her own without any prompting she decided that she wanted to send a yellow balloon to heaven. We had done that at Elliot's celebration service last year and it made a huge impact on Bennett. That hadn't even occurred to me, but I thought it was a great idea.
So we went and bought balloons. Bennett wanted to tie pictures of our family to the balloons so Elliot would remember us. That was hard. But I decided we could do it. And then the kids dictated what they wanted to say on the back of the pictures.
Bennett wrote one from Lainey. She told Elliot that she was her BFF.
We wrote them on the back of these pictures so Elliot "would know who we are."
Bennett reading her note to Elliot.
I miss Elliot. My Grandfather once said accidentally, "I have four granddaughters. And they're all girls." Obviously he meant to say "grandchildren" but that became our family joke. There were four granddaughters and we were all girls. I loved being one of those 4. I felt like we were this tight knit secret group that nobody could penetrate. I loved our pink pong games, tennis matches, and dances to 80's music. I loved Christmas mornings and dance recitals. We did everything together and I loved that feeling of unity and belonging.
I know we will never have another Elliot. How could you? She was so beautiful inside and out. She was good at everything but she would be the last one to tell you that. She was athletic but she would never describe herself as that. She was a truly gifted artist, but you wouldn't hear that from her. Instead she would listen. When Elliot and I would meet for coffee or catch up at a family get together, she just wanted to listen to how you were doing. Whenever I tried to ask her a question, she would deflect back to you. She loved getting to know people and that's why so many people are now left with a hole in their hearts without her. How do you replace someone like that? You don't. They're one in a million.
I wish my kids could have really known her. She was so incredibly maternal and children flocked to her. Watching Elliot with her children inspired me. I hope they always know that they had a Mom who adored them. She wanted to be a Mom so badly and watching her fulfill that dream with her oldest son, Wyatt, is something I will always treasure. Her two beautiful children were brought into this world by a woman who wanted nothing more than to be their mother. And she was a wonderful one. The way she mothered her children with patience and understanding is something I am always trying to emulate.
This is the last picture I have of Elliot with Will. He was trying to kiss away her boo boos. I wish more than anything that he could have.
And I love this picture so much, even though I am in mid-sentence, because it is so typical Elliot. She barely noticed the camera. She had such a connection with kids. You can see the love in the eyes as she is talking to Bennett. And look at B's face. Kids know when they are talking to an adult who "gets them."
On this anniversary of Elliot's death, I remember the most selfless person I have ever known. Someone who pointed others to Christ even in the middle of incredible pain and suffering. Someone who wanted people to know about Jesus more than anything in this world and who used her terrible disease as an opportunity to praise Him.
Thank you, Elliot for your witness, your example, and your love. You will always be missed and you will never be forgotten.
2 Corinthians 4:18 "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."